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Training and development “overlooked” in care homes
A report published by the University of York and the RCN Foundation highlights a lack of training for care home staff. A point, in effect, also raised by CQC in its findings from the new inspection processes.
What it means
It should go without saying that poorly trained staff will be unable to give of their best and service users will receive less care and understanding than they might otherwise.
At the extreme there are also risks of non-compliance with regulations.
Stress, attendance and retention are all adversely affected. Greg Palfrey, writing in the CMM magazine, points to the costs in terms of agency cover, training and disruption. To this can be added recruitment costs not just in direct cost but the opportunity cost in the time it involves.
Change happens continually, so limited training means missing out on new skills and new knowledge that can make service delivery more effective, more efficient and easier.
It is not just care staff who need training. The business and leadership skills required to run and manage a home are wide ranging including financial control, strategic planning, and negotiating skills with funders, etc. Failure to accept senior management training can mean much lost potential.
What can be done
I would start by addressing your own continuing professional development. The CQC calls for providers to learn from others. Business management, leadership and personal development courses are available from colleges, the National Skills Academy and numerous private providers. Many training opportunities will offer mentoring or coaching – choose the coach carefully and it can be invaluable.
Learn from other providers. If you are not already a member of your local care association or the National Care Association then join. Occasionally there are very local groups set up by energetic providers that are also well worth joining.
Develop a training and development programme by looking at the needs of your staff. Much can be done with minimal expenditure, such as attending free talks and presentations, guided reading, programmed learning, YouTube, internal coaching and mentoring, planned supervision and instruction, work diaries and log books.
Liaise with local colleges. This may incur costs, particularly opportunity costs while staff are away. But progressive college staff can assist with economical learning processes too, by integrating courses with the learning described in the previous section. It is also worth remembering that more learning takes place between college attendances than at each attendance and good trainers know how to capitalise on it.
The costs and need for training should be used, wherever possible, in negotiations with funders.
However, excellence in training is self funding because it improves service delivery, retention and attendance, while also reducing stress both for employees and the care home / business owner.
Malcolm Martin of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert contributor